Learning disability service reaches finals of top national award

A learning disability service in Bishop’s Stortford has narrowly missed out on winning the top spot at an awards ceremony which celebrates excellence in support for people with learning disabilities.

The service, which is run by Hft, a national charity providing support for adults with learning disabilities, offers person-centred services across Hertfordshire and Essex, ranging from residential care and day services to supported living at home.

The team were shortlisted for the ‘Great Autism Practice’ category at the National Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards thanks to a nomination from Dr John Biddulph, an autism specialist who has worked with Hft for almost three years. In his letter to the panel he described the “exceptional” staff as “the most sensitive and caring practitioners I’ve had the pleasure to work with”.

He also highlighted their ability to link theory with practice, working with visiting professionals and collecting data to produce action plans of exceptional quality for the individuals they support.

The team were among more than 600 guests at the awards, which aim to pay tribute to individuals or organisations who excel in providing quality care. This year’s celebration took place on Friday 14 July at Birmingham’s ICC, and were hosted by TV personality Sally Phillips, who herself has a son with Down’s Syndrome.

About the nomination, Senior Regional Manager, Keith May said: “I feel very proud that the work we’re doing with people on the autistic spectrum has been recognised in this way. It’s given us the opportunity to represent Hft and the amazing service in which we work at Herts and Essex.”

The Bishop’s Stortford service has been running for over 30 years, and currently supports 15 people on the autistic spectrum with a range of needs.

Keith attributes the service’s success to the extensive specialist training received by all staff, and their person-centred approach.

“We aim to meet the needs of each individual on the autistic spectrum,” he says. “We work hard to create a bespoke appropriate environment for everyone, whether that means adjusting sensory stimuli like light and sound, or communicating using signboards or Makaton.”

“Ultimately it’s all down to having a great team – it may be a cliché, but it is all about teamwork.”

Hft also supports people with learning disabilities in a variety of other ways, from finding meaningful employment, to leading an active social life and making their voices heard, so they can live with greater levels of independence and personal fulfillment.

Notes to editors

For further information please contact: Suzanne Fry, PR & Media Manager, on 0117 906 1755 or suzanne.fry@hft.org.uk. For media enquiries outside of office hours please call 0117 906 1697

About Hft

Hft is a national charity supporting more than 2,500 adults with learning disabilities across England to live the best life possible. Established in 1962, the charity uses its own unique Fusion Model to consistently deliver high quality, person-centred support across all its services.

Services range from supported living to residential care – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.

For more information about Hft please visit www.hft.org.uk

Information about learning disabilities

A learning disability can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and is defined as having a reduced ability to:

  • Understand new or complex information
  • Learn new skills
  • Live independently

Subject: Awards

Location: Hft Herts & Essex